Bob Wright introduced our speaker this day who was Susan Francis.  He reminded everyone that Susan is a former La Quinta Rotarian although it has been 15 or 16 years since she was active with our club.  (Little known fact:  Susan was, at the time she was a La Quinta Rotarian, the CEO for the La Quinta Arts Foundation and was primarily responsible for getting us our first gig pouring beer!  Who knew then that it would become one of our club’s main skills set when it comes to fundraisers?)  Susan is the current chief executive officer for the JFK Foundation and The Ophelia Project. 
The mission of the Ophelia Project is: “Empowering young teens to increase their sense of self-worth and maximize their potential contribution to society”.  In 1998 the John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation was identified as the first national affiliate of the Ophelia Project.  The Ophelia Project of Coachella Valley has been greatly successful growing to serve 16 programs in 15 school sites across 3 independent school districts.  The program currently serves 700 girls each year with a volunteer force of 200 professional mentors and business leaders. Their vision is to continue to provide and expand Ophelia Project in the valley assuring its benefits for future generations of teenage girls.  Since 1998 the Ophelia Project has quietly made all the difference for 4,900 teen girls in the Coachella Valley. The Ophelia Project is a team mentoring program focused on providing educational and skill-building opportunities for adolescent girls to acquire positive values, increase self-esteem and broaden their horizons. The program is delivered by professional women who have been certified in the Ophelia Project model of Coachella Valley and volunteer their time as mentors.
Joining Susan this day was Peggy Mengel the project’s training and Relationship Coordinator, Liz Barnwell the projects Administration and Events Coordinator and a previous Ophelia Girl, now mentor and ambassador Angela Miranda.  Angela shared with us her personal experiences with the Ophelia Project and how it literally changed her life… sounding very reminiscent of our RYLA students after returning home from their weekend experience at our Rotary Youth Leadership Award camps.
Susan is an excellent speaker and had no difficulty in convincing all those in attendance of the relevance and significant affect that the Ophelia Program has had upon thousands of young women here in the Coachella Valley.  Thank you for your presentation and for your continued Service above Self!
To learn more about Susan Francis, the JFK Foundation and the Ophelia Project please visit their website at: